Court rejects unions' application to block job cuts at SAA

Plans to cut 900 jobs at SAA will now go ahead.

The Labour Court on Friday rejected an interdict that unions submitted in an attempt to block the South African Airways (SAA) from going ahead with its plan to cut 900 jobs. The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and the South African Cabin Crew Association have been against recommendations from the business rescue practitioners to cancel 11 SAA routes due to the effect it would have on jobs.

The business rescuers announced last week that the carrier would cease its domestic routes for Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth with effect from March 1, saying key measures needed to be implemented immediately to conserve cash and create a viable platform for a successful future.

According to News24, Judge Graham Moshoana said the court rejected the interdict on the basis that the national carrier had not yet initiated retrenchment procedures in accordance with Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act and therefore was yet to consult with employees. 

"[As such] the duty to consult in the contemplation of section 189.1 of the LRA did not arise," he said